The lower pair satellites of Swarm mission, flying side‐by‐side and separated by 1.4° in longitude (about 150 km), usually observed equatorial plasma depletions (EPDs) showing quite different structures, and sometime even only one satellite observed EPD. In this study, we provided 6‐h continuous observations of EPDs on the night of 23–24 September 2014, from an all‐sky imager located at Fuke (geographic:19.5°N,109.1°E), south of China. From the airglow images the EPDs were found with longitudinal extensions of about 50 km and all tilted from northwest to southeast direction. We further checked the in situ electron density simultaneously measured by the Swarm lower pair satellites and found the differences of Swarm in situ electron densities explained well by the longitudinally thin structure of EPDs observed from the all‐sky imager. During later periods the bifurcation and merging were observed by the airglow images, and it was the first time to report both processes in the evolution of one EPD. The bifurcation was first observed at the higher‐latitude part, and then observed at lower latitudes of EPD. The subbranches generated through bifurcation showed even thinner longitudinal extension of about 20–30 km, and later the subbranches started to merge with each other, forming a really complicated mesh of depleted regions.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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